Geometry and cool elegance of Focus office building
Despite the great volume of the Focus building, which has ten floors, the overall impression is nonetheless of lightness – thanks to the choice of materials by the Polish architect, Stefan Kuryłowicz. Glass, steel and polished stone predominate; new materials compared to those of the neighbouring buildings. The architect wished to create a structure independent of the surrounding urban milieu.
The building is divided into four independent sectors around a common courtyard – the atrium. The design echoes the plan and structure of an old city in which all the quarters surrounded a central square. The atrium contains most of the functional areas of the building: a restaurant, café, fitness club, conference centre and shops.
A square of green is positioned above the entrance at the height of the sixth floor. In addition to being attractive, the four-level garden affords people working in the offices a view of the city. The garden constitutes an ‘opening’ in the southern part of the structure. The project designers have christened the garden a ‘megawindow’. In addition to its primary function, the ‘mega-window’ creates an effect of depth on the surface of the glass wall.
A façade with multiple functions
For the architects, the dual-skin building façade was to fulfil several important functions. Due to the site of the building, the façade was required to provide satisfactory acoustic and thermal insulation and to enable ventilation. All the windows are fitted with Pilkington Insulight™ insulating glass units. The outer pane consists of Pilkington Suncool™ Neutral 51/37, while the inner pane is Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear. The combination ensures satisfactory lighting of the interior together with good thermal insulation. The curtain wall has been constructed using the Pilkington Planar™ system; with transparent, thermally toughened partially silk-screen printed Pilkington Optifloat™ of 12 mm thickness.
Building was work was undertaken from 1998 to 2000. In April 1999, the Mostostal Aluminium construction group began work on the façade. The installation of the curtain wall began with assembly of the primary framework.
At the beginning of façade assembly, the glass panes were not yet present on site. In order to check the accuracy of framework construction, polycarbonate templates were used. This technique facilitated final glazing assembly to tolerances of within a millimetre.
In addition to the frontal curtain wall, Mostostal Aluminium also used the Pilkington Planar™ system for the southern entrance, the bays on the west and east walls and the bay windows on the west wall. For the entrance and bays, Pilkington Planar™ resin laminated glass was used. Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear was used in all cases.
Focus Filtrowa is the largest Pilkington Planar™ construction in Poland. The total glazed area is 4,699 m². Due to the external road traffic noise, Pilkington Insulight™ insulating glass units were used for the windows. The outer pane consists of resin laminated glass with Pilkington Suncool™ Neutral 51/37. The inner pane is Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear. That specification was necessary for the windows that were unprotected by the glazed façade. Pilkington glass is present and visible throughout the building. The glass was used for the windows, but also for the internal partitions. Some of the windows were fitted with Pilkington Optitherm™ low-emissivity glass and safety laminated glass containing a 1,52 mm thick interlayer.
In order to fulfil the designers’ vision, some of the laminated glass was etched. The wall bays were etched with lines and the windows on the north side of the atrium with small circles. The architects, fascinated by glass and metal, have paid attention to the smallest details, thus creating interesting spaces.